From his long experience of the shady classes of society, Shih-Kung very soon discovered what kind of a man his companion was, and felt that here was a mine from which he might draw valuable information to help him in reaching the facts he wished to discover.
On the old camp ground by the river below the Fort, the Indians pitched their village, and every day came others of their race to set up lodges, and add to the lively scene. On the other side was a growing canvas town of whites with every kind of sharper and blackleg that the surrounding settlements could contribute from their abundant shady population.
Some frequent the wide open plains; some the deep forest; some wander by the shady banks of streams; while others love to dwell upon the rocky steep, or the dry ravines of the mountains. Some browse upon the grass; while others, goat-like, prefer the leaves and tender twigs of trees.
Here is an account of one of the monotonous days, transcribed from a letter of one of the Orleans Cadets, a boy who had been used at home to take his coffee before rising, a late, comfortable breakfast, and to walk down-town at his leisure on the shady side of the street, clad in the cool, white linen suit then so universally worn: "We get up at five o'clock to attend roll-call; at 6.30 get our coffee and our breakfast, which consists of crackers and salt pork; at 7.30, back to our tents and pack our knapsack, rub our guns, and get ready for parade at nine o'clock.
And back of the trees were rows of cardboard houses, painted in various colors but most of them having green blinds. Some were large and some small, and in the front yards were beds of paper flowers quite natural in appearance. Over some of the porches paper vines were twined, giving them a cozy and shady look.
The sides of the ravine were shady with hemlocks, spreading their long, waving boughs over the rocks, with whose dark, solemn foliage maples and birches contrasted their fresh vivid green.
He had come within the hour from the din of the city, where the wealth that flowered here was made. And there was a primitive, eternal, unanswerable question harassing his soul. "Shall we walk over to the lake," the girl suggested gently, as if anxious to humor some incomprehensible child. "There is a lovely ravine we can explore, all cool and shady, and this sun is growing oppressive."
The men both followed her to a shady creek, and there found a barrel, which did look as if it contained the generous liquor which they longed for.
A solemn, splendid peace held the country-side, and hardly a soul was abroad where the road led upward to wild moor and waste. Sometimes a group of calves crowding under the shady side of hedges regarded Joan with youthful interest; sometimes, in a distant coomb-bottom, where blackberries grew, little sunbonnets bobbed above the fern and a child's shrill voice came clear to her upon the wind.
Maylie and Rose, and hear them talk of books; or perhaps sit near them, in some shady place, and listen whilst the young lady read: which he could have done, until it grew too dark to see the letters.